Teach Your Critic

Well, I was glad I didn't have the time to read Tom Shales's review of "Six Feet Under" [Style, June 13] until after I watched the show.

One of the enjoyments of this show is waiting to see what will happen next with the fascinating characters, and Shales pretty much detailed every scene of the opening episode. Also, I think Graham Nash would be dismayed to know that his "Teach Your Children" was described by Shales as "the ghastly song composed for and played at Lisa's funeral. . . ."

-- Judy Nessen

Middletown, Md.

Silent Cal on a Coin

Portraits of a couple of presidents were engraved on U.S. coins within a year or two of their deaths ["Reporting on Reagan," Free for All, June 13]. One president's face, however, ended up on a coin while he was still alive and in the White House.

The president was Calvin Coolidge, who had been in office about three years when he and George Washington appeared together on a special half dollar. That coin was minted in 1926 to commemorate our nation's sesquicentennial.

-- Bob Cullen


Armchair Psychology

The June 10 Reliable Source included remarks made by Justin A. Frank in his upcoming book, "Bush on the Couch." It quoted Frank's contention that President Bush exhibits "sadistic tendencies" and suffers from "character pathology," "grandiosity" and "megalomania." Frank based his opinions on publicly available material and said, "I've never met the president or any members of his family."

How could Frank -- a local psychiatrist -- have arrived at such conclusions? Everyone had the same access to Bush's speeches and writings, but I have never heard of anyone else, psychiatrist or otherwise, reaching that point.

-- David Green


The Taxpayers' Muzzle

Your June 16 editorial "Muzzling Abortion" misses the point. The International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International are absolutely free to advance their agenda, promote abortion and be involved with whatever groups they please. But they do not have a right to U.S. tax funds to support this agenda. Free speech has not been curtailed; only the gravy train has been halted.

-- Gail Quinn


The writer heads the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Too Recent for the Gipper

Robert D. Novak incorrectly stated that President Ronald Reagan, while in office, restricted stem cell research ["Stem Cells: Using the Gipper to Win One," op-ed, June 17]. Human embryonic stem cells, which are derived from fertility clinic embryos that would otherwise be discarded, were discovered in 1998, 10 years after Reagan left office.

-- Lawrence A. Soler


The writer is a vice president with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Wrath Turns Away Kindness

Charles Krauthammer damned the "liberal establishment" that opposed Ronald Reagan in life for praising him in death as an optimist [op-ed, June 11]. "Optimism," he wrote, "is the perfect way to trivialize everything that Reagan was or did."

Clearly, Krauthammer will grasp at anything to bludgeon liberals, even their kind and conciliatory words for a man they differed with politically. All I can say is: There you go again, Mr. Krauthammer, revealing the cold heart and mean spirit of today's right-wing "conservative establishment."

-- Paul Conlow

Moorestown, N.J.

Of Course, of Course

As an avid dog lover, I read with great interest Rob Stein's article about Rico, the border collie who seems to understand many words [front page, June 11]. However, I was rocked out of my chair when I read that " dogs might even have the capacity to speak -- like Mister Ed, the talking horse in the 1960s television show -- if only they had the necessary anatomy." Uh, Stein does know that Mr. Ed couldn't really speak -- doesn't he?

-- Vicki Felmlee

Grand Junction, Colo.